My backyard looks as shown in the pic. I would like to put grass here in spring.
1) Should I simply rototill the whole area.. add some compost .. then put in either grass seeds or sod ?
2) Should I have to kill the current greenary before rototilling the area ?
Please help me understand this.
I'm "Coach Dave" and solving lawn problems is my specialty. To deal with your serious weeds it takes some serious measures. Here is a plan of action I prescribe for a lawn in your condition.
1) You will need some "pre-emergent"(weed seed killer). This is available in most home improvement garden centers.
2) Pre-emergent is usually only available in late January to mid February in California. A second application is helpful for best results.
3)Pre-emergent kills the weed seedlings before they germinate. This is a great idea to kill the weeds before they get old enough to create seeds of their own.
4)If you are putting in new Sod you should wait at least 3 weeks before applying the "pre-emergent". If you are seeding your lawn you might have 6 to 8 weeks.
As a tip, if you have a lawn service have them clean their mowers before mowing you lawn. Most mowers contain a host of different weed seeds.
Below I've included a couple of photos of what pre-emergent looks like.
Thank you Coach dave for the help. Wanted to make sure, I understand this.
Use of Pre-emergent only after putting the grass either seeds or sod, right ?
If yes, can I simply rototill the area to make the area graded and plain (currently it is not) ?
How do I amend the current soil ? should I add compost while rototilling it ? or any other method ?
Tilling the soil first is a great way to help make things more level and remove stones (if you plan on using a rake after) then use your premergent.
I always put down a 10% sand, 60% screened topsoil, 15% mulch, 15% manure before laying sod or spreading seed. This helps retain moisture and helps build strong root systems. I also like to use a little bit of gypsum anytime I plant just to help condition the soil and allow for deeper water penetration.
1) If I understand you correctly, you want me to follow the below steps, right ?
B. Use rake to remove stones
C. add the following soil combination (Item 2)
D. Gypsum (what %?)
E. Rototill again to ensure the soil is well mixed
F. seed or sod
2) I see the following in my local nursery. Can you help which one I should consider and what combination ?
A)Compost - A combination of differrent types of wood shavings & a small percentage of horse humus, composted and screened. 99% weed free
- 12.50 /Cubic yard
B) Garden Mix - A rich, ready-to-grow blend of our finest oragnics & soil. For the subrbun farmer in all of us
C) Soil Mix - A blend of compost & topsoil; average organic content approximately 65%
- 16.50/Cubic Yard
D) TopSoil - Varies from a sandy loam to loamy sand, with a slight organic content
- 20.00/Cubic Yard.
E) Amended TopSoil - Topsoil with a dash of extra organic
- 21.00/Cubic Yard.
You shouldn't have to rototill twice, but whatever floats your boat. Gypsum is something that can't be overused if mixed properly and watered in. I would start with the first till, rake, then add new soil. Then just lightly dust the surface of the soil with gypsum, then add premergent, rake a little bit, then water to activate the premergent. premergent prevents things from sprouting like weeds. I personally go with sod because it's already green and you don't have to wait for seeds to sprout or worry about birds carrying the seed away.
I would use the amended topsoil The garden mix sounds awesome but it's going to blow away in the wind and cost too much. You're not growing vegetables here, you're growing grass.
If you lay sod or spread seed, having a level surface is key to easy mowing in the future. If laying sod, make sure you have a sod roller available. A sod roller is basically a drum that you can fill up with water to increase the weight of the drum and make the sod more level and help the sod's roots grab the earth better. Also--stagger your rolls.
edit---because of the brick and flagstone adjacent to the grass you will have to make sure you lower the soil in those regions enough so that once you add the new amended soil and lay the sod you don't have the sod too high where the water drains onto the patio etc. Do the grading gradually as well. A wide rake is easiest to work with.
Coach Dave here again, I hope I have not confused the matter of lawn care too much. Let me clarify:"pre-emergent" kills seedlings of both weeds and grass. This is to control unwanted seedlings like weeds and stray seeds. So using pre-emergent is great for sod and established lawns but not newly seeded areas.
If you have more questions let me know. Now is the time to use the product.
I haven't heard anything about straw being used. This is used to keep the grass seed moist. A dry seed is a dead seed.
Also I'm in NC and here you should seed lawns in the fall then after a few mows on the grass you can aerate then reseed.
I work at an industrial hose company. So I deal with a lot of hydro-seeding companies ,landscapers and farmers.
I would strongly advise the straw be used on top of your grass seed.
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